The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming (BGCCW) is to inspire all youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. To meet that mission, the Club works to prepare youth – boys and girls – to have a plan beyond high school. For modern children, technology is more than “playing around” on the computer. Technology is no longer a luxury for youth, it is a necessity. From the moment they enter school, they are expected to operate iPads, desktop, and laptop computers. They prepare class presentations digitally. They interact with teachers virtually. They complete assignments through digital platforms. Technology is as commonplace for today’s children as textbooks were for generations prior. The workplace is becoming more technology-driven with complex systems and applications.
Girls at the Club in grades 3 to 5 now have the opportunity to learn the ever-changing and unique language of computer coding. Thanks to the partnership of Girls Who Code and The Science Zone, the Club hosts coding classes every Wednesday. During this class, girls gain coding skills that will propel their future in careers like computer systems engineer, web development, or data scientist. These skills cover a multitude of non-tech careers as well as including Broadway, fashionistas, artists, and Youtubers. With coding abilities, young females will better succeed in the workforce while leading, improving, and transforming it.
Aside from a promising career path, teaching girls to code comes with many benefits. Coding enhances problem-solving skills while instilling confidence to face their challenges. The Girls Who Code program also breaks the stereotype that coding is only for “gamers.” The curriculum includes “Women in Tech” lessons that solidify the message that coding is not limited by who you are or your interests.
According to ComputerScienceZone.org, there will be 1 million more computer jobs than employees to fill them within the next decade. Even more so, women represent just 20% of computer science professionals. According to the non-profit Girls Who Code, the number of women in the field has decreased steadily since 1995 when 37% of computer scientists were women. According to The Journal, two out of three elementary-aged children indicate an interest in science, but as they enter middle school, the percentage of girls falls dramatically.
Learning to code, like any new discipline, is an opportunity for growth and development. Through this highly desirable skill, Club kids will understand what it means to persist, create, and discover. These skills will give youth a competitive edge by using the tools and resources available so they can grow, explore, learn, and discover passions long before they enter the workforce, and achieve a great future.